• Fresh Views

    Language can change your POV

    As National Diabetes Month comes to a close, we’d like to share this blog post written for the Society for Participatory Medicine blog post published November 2, 2018.  

    The language used in healthcare has such a significant impact on how a person living with diabetes FEELS about living with diabetes and how they trust and engage with healthcare professionals.

    If you already know us, you know we support the language movement and encourage everyone to think about language in a new and fresh way. When we drafted the scripts for the two #LanguageMatters videos (links on our web page on the lower right and in the blog post) that’s when we began to think about creating A Fresh POV for You because we knew there were more opportunities to impact the diabetes community in a new and positive way.

    Here are a few quick and easy suggestions, that while simple can be a game changer and help stop the blame, shame, stigma and judgement often associated with diabetes.

    • Instead of using words like adherence and compliance, focus on what the person is actually doing to manage their diabetes.  You can ask about when and how they are taking their medication, focusing on their strengths instead of judging behaviors.
    • Refrain from using language that implies the person living with diabetes is unmotivated or doesn’t care. Instead, recognize the time required to manage a chronic condition and appreciate the hard work they are doing every day.
    • Replace the word diabetic with person living with diabetes all of the time! (However, a person living with diabetes can choose the language that best suits them.)

    As we suggest in the blog mentioned earlier, language choice is a habit, and just like anything else, it takes a little practice to change behavior!  If you start to think about diabetes management from a solution focused approach you will naturally use language that is strengths based and action oriented, and not focused on blame. We can embrace a healthier way of talking about diabetes by changing perspectives on language and the impact it has on anyone living with diabetes. Let’s create fresh, new behaviors because #LanguageMatters!

     

  • Fresh Views

    “Imprinting”: How to in 5 steps

    At the close of our prior blog post we mentioned imprinting, and promised to share more with you on that. So here we go…

    While imprint has several definitions, those that resonate with us at A Fresh POV for You are “to fix firmly on the mind/memory” or “to make an impression; have an effect.” So, with that said, here’s how imprinting works:

    1. When you find yourself gazing at a striking view or in a most memorable uplifting  moment…pause. Be present in the moment.
    2. Take a deep breath in and a cleansing breath out.
    3. Gaze at the view – noting where you are and who you are with. Take in colors, lighting, sounds, smells (maybe even taste if it’s food or beverage related).
    4. Then take time to appreciate and acknowledge what you see before you and are experiencing (many liken this to having an “attitude of gratitude”).
    5. Allow that view or moment – every detail – along with those positive feelings to etch into your mind’s eye so you can recall them in the future.

    You see below two memorable views that we have both firmly imprinted in our minds. These photos were taken by the shore of Lake Como in Italy several years ago. The photo of us together was snapped on a cool September evening. We sat with our husbands, sipping a glass of Italian wine, talking about life for several hours, just enjoying each other’s friendship while watching the clouds drop over the mountains, feeling the cool breeze as dusk began to settle in, and listening to the waves lap and church bells toll across the lake. That spectacular view and those special moments in time are deeply etched (imprinted) in our minds.

    Deb and Tami at Lake Como, Italy

    When life is challenging (or just downright hard and painful), we try to turn our thoughts back to happy moments and picturesque views like this. We even keep pictures of some of our imprinted views on our phones so not only our mind’s eye but our actual eye can prompt us and help take us back. In our experience, this philosophy – or mental tool if you will – can build resilience while allowing your thoughts to take a break and refocus in a positive manner.

    You (or those in your circle) may also find imprinting helpful, particularly when feeling down, stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. With mindfulness and repetition, imprinting may become more automatic. Sometimes we even find ourselves stopping  and saying out loud, “Wait, I want to imprint this moment!” Give imprinting a try. Let us know what view or experiences you imprint, and how imprinting works for you.

  • Fresh Views

    Seeing with new eyes!

    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes. – Marcel Proust

    Have you ever felt “at anchor in the harbor,” floating in a particular place,  prevented from moving anywhere by the proverbial boat anchor and obstacles surrounding you?  Patients and clients living with diabetes that we’ve worked with over the years have frequently shared that managing diabetes leaves them weighted down by the challenges they face moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. These challenges in turn may lead to feeling stagnant, immovable, with no obvious way to move forward. With that said, the harbor photo taken this week during a pause in the Thanksgiving holiday travels, brought us @AFreshPOVforYou to take a moment and reflect on the above words of Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”

    What if rather than focusing on the obstacles and what’s immediately around you, instead you look up. You look about. You see with new eyes. You see the bigger picture (and maybe even a stunning sunset!). When we @AFreshPOVforYou incorporate solution focused brief therapy into life with diabetes, we guide clients to focus on the “desired future,” rather than on past or current problems.  We help people take small steps to move in the direction of that desired future – much like pulling up the anchor and setting sail to see what might be possible with new eyes. As Ann Bodmer Lutz, the author of Learning Solution-Focused Therapy notes, “Solutions for patients are not scientific puzzles to be solved by practitioners, but rather changes in perceptions.”  

    Think about a time when you’ve had success and recall:

     

    • What was different then?
    • How did you feel?
    • What were you doing or seeing in yourself?
    • What were your perceptions of things then?
    • How can you change your perception today so you can move forward again?

     

    Stay tuned to future blog posts as we share stories of success.

    Wherever holiday travels take you, we encourage you to take a pause and look around you with new eyes. Then acknowledge and be thankful for any fresh views, beautiful views, or uplifting moments. We call this “imprinting.”  We’ll share more about imprinting in our next blog post.

    Those of us @AFreshPOVforYou wish you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

     

  • Fresh Views

    Sometimes it’s Challenging to find a Fresh POV!

    Day time orange sun with thick smoke in the sky

    While our focus is “fresh views”, today there is nothing “fresh” about the air in northern California or the views in the sky. The devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, CA is beyond words. We felt compelled to share our thoughts since this fire is so close to home for @DebGreenwood.

    How can survivors of this fire living with diabetes or other chronic conditions even think about their next steps (never mind taking medication or counting carbohydrates)?  The Apple Watch is a reminder every day that the air quality is unhealthy for all, and certainly not suitable for outdoor exercise. So we began to ponder, how can solutions focused brief therapy (SFBT) help those who find themselves in this situation and devastation to move one small step forward, and create hope and possibilities? Admittedly, this is really challenging and we’re struggling to find a way to think through this problem.

    SFBT is all about asking questions and helping a person recognize their strengths. A recent blog post by Dr. Anne Bodmer Lutz, A Language of Hope: Top 10 Solution Focused Translations, helps us think about opportunities to support individuals to be future-focused when faced with challenges.

    So, one question might be “Who are the most important people in your life and what do you most appreciate about them?” The answer may help one recognize that he or she has a support system around them, and that these important individuals can be a source of strength.

    A second question may be “What do you know?” This question focuses on competence. For instance, for a parent of a child with diabetes living under a stressful situation, one might ask, “What do you know about your child that tells you he is going to be okay?”

    Another question is the “indirect compliment” where one asks “How did you do it? Or “How did you manage to remember to take your insulin?”  By recognizing what has been accomplished and past success, one can feel a sense of empowerment.

    One thing learned from Dr. Anne Bodmer Lutz is that “cope” is just one letter away from “hope”.

    Those of us at A Fresh POV for You are wishing everyone impacted by these California wildfires all of the possibilities and opportunities for your future.

  • Fresh Views

    Let’s learn from the Diabetes Online Community (or the DOC for short)!

    We are big believers in “collective wisdom”, or rather the ability to learn from a greater community.  When sharing thoughts and experiences we can learn from others. Would you agree? As we are delving into the use of Solutions Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) in diabetes we want to engage the DOC in a Twitter chat so we can learn first-hand from those living with diabetes every day!

    One practice used in SFBT is called the “miracle question.” This method helps people use the resources they already have and leverage “exceptions”. Exceptions are simply times when life works better, or times when problems are less likely to take over.  Focusing on personal “exceptions” means focusing focus on situations that went well in the past, or on positive things learned from past experiences (things maybe even forgotten about). Managing diabetes is challenging. Constant focus on “problems” can eroded confidence. We hear that repeatedly from clients we engage with. By  instead focusing on abilities and the possibilities, there are solutions ready to use right in front of us. We can envision the future differently.

    So, here is the miracle question:Suppose tonight while you sleep, a miracle happens. When you wake tomorrow morning, what will you see yourself doing, thinking, or believing, about yourself that will tell you a miracle has happened in your life?”  We challenge you to think about it. How would you answer it?

    By focusing on “exceptions”, goals become different. Focus turns to what is desired in our life instead of what “won’t happen” anymore. To modify this question for diabetes management, let’s consider the following:  If you could fast-forward to a time where you feel satisfied with your diabetes management, what will be different in your life that will let you know things are better?

    Weigh in with your thoughts to these questions and others on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, World Diabetes Day, as we moderate the 7:00 pm ET hour of the #WDD2018 for #DSMA.  During the chat we will be walking through a modified miracle question exercise to learn from all of you. We have received IRB approval to use the de-identified Twitter Chat data (that means we remove the Twitter handles before we review the data) for a qualitative research study to explore the perceptions of the DOC on incorporating the miracle question approach to strengthen resilience and confidence needed to manage diabetes. (And for those of you that may not be familiar with IRB approval, that just means a review committee applies research   ethics by reviewing the proposed research methods to ensure they are ethical). Don’t worry, if you want to participate in the chat, but prefer for us to not use your answers in our research study, you can do that too. We’ll ask who wants to not be included during the chat and will remove your answers.

    Please join in the discussion and let’s learn if this approach resonates with you!

     

  • Fresh Views

    Thoughts on time and perspective

    Sometimes you just need a little bit of time for yourself to clear up your mind and see things from a new perspective. – Anonymous (Jar of Quotes)

     

    It’s National Diabetes Month and we’re on the go raising awareness about diabetes, gaining new perspectives, and challenging those impacted by diabetes to embrace possibilities, opportunities and a fresh vision for the future!

    As you may be catching on, we are all about the “view”…from striking “views” on life’s travels to embracing a positive perspective in viewing life itself, day-in and day-out. So on that note, we want to share this “view” from one stop in the November travels  – looking out over Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The top photo was snapped in the morning on the way out the door. Then below you see that same view, taken before settling in for the night. What a difference the passage of time and associated changes in lighting makes. The lighting changes what is perceived, and how. Twilight brings a whole new and beautiful perspective…the ability to see the harbor in a different way and see things that aren’t visible during the day.

    Taking that thought a step further…What could be possible if you took a little time to clear your mind, and shifted your focus from the problems you’re facing living with diabetes, to instead focus on those times when things are going as desired? What if you viewed things in a different light? How can you build upon your successes?

    Here’s an example for those using continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to stay in touch with blood glucose levels. When looking at trends and patterns, rather than focusing on the time blood glucose is out of range and trying to “fix” that, how about turning your focus to times you are in range, what  was going on then, and trying to do more of that. What small steps can you begin to take in that direction?

    Without a doubt diabetes is complex and burdensome. No one wants or needs anything NEW to do. But what if you focus on the things that are already working for you and try to do those more often?

    That’s the challenge we leave you with today. Time may bring a new perspective.

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    Hello world! A Fresh POV may change your life

    Thanks for checking out our new blog “A Fresh POV for You”!  Join us as we focus on Possibilities, Opportunities and creating a Vision (POV) for the future, based on strengths and leveraging positive learnings from past experiences.

    Who are we?

    We are healthcare professionals and diabetes specialists passionate about positivity and empowering people with diabetes to live life to the fullest! Deborah is a nurse. Tami is a dietitian. We both have spent our entire careers partnering with those living with diabetes to leave a positive imprint.

    We are also speakers, authors, wives, moms, adventurers, and avid travelers always in search of the next fresh and magnificent view. (You see one of those stunning views in this photo, looking out over a vineyard in Italy). You’ll learn more about us and some of our adventures over time.

    What is our focus?

    Simply put, our goal is to inspire those living with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes to design a life that has a personal sense of balance, is realistic and fun. A life that works for them. It goes without saying that managing diabetes is complex and burdensome. The constant focus on problems can make it even harder. We are passionate about turning the focus to abilities and possibilities. What will be different and new instead of what will NOT happen anymore?  What is desired instead of what is NOT wanted? Let’s learn from each other!  

    Why did we start this blog?

    Since November is Diabetes Awareness month there’s no better time than now to let you in on our new adventure in diabetes that’s been in the works behind the scenes for some time.  

    Getting to know us personally, beyond professionally is important. We believe in the concept of a “therapeutic alliance”- which means that the relationship between health care professionals and people with diabetes is the most important component.  

    Awhile back, we discovered an approach called Solutions Focused Brief Therapy. It resonated with us because of the focus on possibilities, opportunities, and creating a vision for the future.  How about applying this to diabetes?  We  look forward to sharing with you as we learn more!

    Then we joined together to craft content for two recently released brief videos focusing on the use of empowering language in diabetes. Language that puts the person with diabetes, their needs and their values first, thus moving away from language that judges, blames and shames. These videos are based on the language position paper published by the American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators. (You can check out the paper and the videos here and on our blog homepage). Over the months that we worked on the video project we had many soul searching discussions about how diabetes care and education needs to evolve and innovate.

    And thus was born A Fresh POV for You! If you are someone who feels challenged and overwhelmed with aspects of life with diabetes – or someone who just wants to learn more about our creative approach – follow our blog as we begin to share more about our exciting new adventure over the next few months. We have lots of creative ideas and ways we hope to engage in innovative diabetes services! Our goal is to create programs and services that resonate and make sense for people living with diabetes.

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.